Firstly battling with words

samedi, le 03 octobre 2009

I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know love at all
~Joni Mitchell : Both sides now

There are some words I inherently battle with. The first time I can recall hearing the words ’honour’ and ’respect’ was as a tiny little girl, sitting not quietly in church next to My Mother. The stern, strict and very learned minister spoke with sweeping gestures, the long arms of his black priest’s robe sweeping across the pulpit. He’d urge the congregation to follow the Ten Commandments. He’d urge me, specifically, to ’Honour thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long.’ I’d crane my neck to glance admiringly at my father sitting amongst the elders, I’d look up lovingly at My Mother sitting next to me. Their eyes fixed on the minister. I’d think how much I loved them and that my days were already long, especially on Sundays. Just sitting through the sermon was longer than an eternity could then be, especially at the age of seven or five.

The minister would warn how fire and brimstone, the agents of divine wrath, would be visited upon those who do not obey. I played with the pretty silver buckle on my new pink shoes. I accidentally bumped my psalm book. It noisily fell to the floor. I slid off the hard wooden pew to pick it up. Suddenly, unexpectedly, the fire and brimstone of My Mother’s hand firmly gripped my upper arm. She yanked me back onto the bench next to her and hissed that I should sit still. That I’m such a naughty child. That I am so unruly.

I instinctively knew my day had just gotten longer. Playing with the pretty silver buckle on my new pink shoes I’d thought that I honoured and respected. Suddenly, after honouring and respecting, comes fire and brimstone. After sitting through many similar Sunday sermons, I eventually formed an understanding of the words ’honour’ and ’respect’ and both had, indelibly imbedded in them, a healthy helping of fire and brimstone, a good dose of fear.

To this day I look at people strangely when they say that all they want is a little respect. I have no desire to be respected. For, should someone respect me, they would, by inference, also fear me. I really do not want to be feared. I would more like to be considered and once considered, judged on the merits of who I am. For, I am sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes kind, sometimes cruel, sometimes happy, sometimes sad but I am always me.

As of late, I have been battling a bit with the word ’love’. About that I will tell you tomorrow.

(Storm clouds gathering on a late summer afternoon.)


  1. Intriguing post Rispa. I Love how you tell your Stories.

  2. Great post and very thought provoking. I think we associate things in our childhood and have a hard time breaking that pattern as we get older. I grew up in a similar religious environment and eventually as an adult researched it with a more open mind and found what I believe to be true and have never looked back with my religion that I now call home.